Nocturnal visitors Why silverfish live in so many households? This is the cause
Actually, their correct name is "silverfish", nevertheless they are more commonly known as "silverfish". Their silvery or pearly scales are the reason for their name, but it is their feeding behavior that gives them their technical name "Lepisma saccharina" It means "sugar guest" in German – because they need sugar to survive. They do not feed exclusively on organic waste, such as hair and dander, but also on starchy foods such as flour, cereals or pastries. It is therefore hardly surprising why insects feel particularly at home in human households. Where exactly and why you do not necessarily have to fight all silverfish, is explained below.
Where do silverfish live? Causes of infestation
In Central Europe, silverfish live mainly in heated living spaces – preferably where it’s not only nice and warm, but also damp: in the bathroom, the kitchen, or in the rooms where you hang your damp laundry. The absolute comfort temperature is between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, but if it gets too hot (from 35° C), they die. However, if temperatures drop below ten degrees, the insects become inactive. If, on the other hand, it is too dry, silverfish can no longer reproduce: One female lays up to 20 eggs.
During the day you will rarely or never see silverfish, as they are shy and only become active at night. For this reason they hide everywhere where it is dark: in cracks or joints or even behind baseboards or wallpaper. If you catch the insects in the act, scurrying across the floor or disappearing behind the wall, you don’t have to panic immediately – because the fact is that the animals are neither harmful to health nor a sign of poor hygiene. On the contrary, silverfish are actually beneficial.
Therefore silverfish have a practical use
Some infestations, such as those of food moths, should be controlled, as the insects contaminate food and their remains can cause allergies and gastrointestinal diseases. Silverfish, on the other hand, are not harmful to our health, instead they even have a practical benefit: Apart from the fact that they eat dust mites and thus do allergy sufferers some good, a heavy infestation can indicate a moisture problem in the apartment – because silverfish also eat fungal spores. If the insects occur in high numbers, you should examine your four walls for a possible mold infestation.
You can prevent silverfish with these tips
Even though silverfish are harmless in principle, many people are disgusted by insects. Therefore, you can take preventive measures to ensure that they do not feel comfortable in your home and go the distance:
Since silverfish prefer warm and humid rooms, you should air them regularly – this is especially true for your bathroom. The colder the air and the lower the humidity, the more uncomfortable it becomes for insects.
Since organic waste such as hair and dead skin flakes are on the menu of silverfish, you should vacuum and mop or damp mop regularly in all rooms.
Since light-shy insects tend to hang out in dark cracks and crevices, or even use them as entrances, it’s best to seal them up as best you can – with caulk or silicone, for example.